A Day With Elaine Molinar
There’s nothing particularly routine about my daily life in general, because I travel so much. That travel is not regular - for example, today I just got home from a trip, and I’ve been traveling for most of the month with only a few days at home. However, when I am home, I do have a bit of a routine.
6:30am: I have my alarm set to music, classical music right now. Yesterday I set my alarm to Rodrigo and that’s really nice to wake up to - classical French guitar. I get out of bed around 7am, and plan in the extra half hour in bed before I have to get up. I don’t like having to get out of bed right away.
After I wake up, I like to do a word game, like a crossword puzzle or a visual graphic game - I’ve always done that, even before the world of iPhones. It’s a good way to start thinking. I also have an email subscription to a service that sends you cartoons, to start the day with a bit of a laugh. Then I’ll turn on the radio and listen to NPR.
7:00am: Often, my husband will make me a cup of tea. I don’t drink coffee but am an avid tea fan. Sometimes I have tea in the morning at home, and sometimes I’ll wait to get to work. There’s a café we pass on the way to the ferry and we stop there sometimes. My husband (who is also my business partner) also travels a lot, so when we’re both at home, we’ll stop at a cafe and spend some time together before we get to the studio. We’ll take the East River Ferry to work, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Wall Street stop.
9:00am: The first thing I do when I get to work is say hello to people, whoever is there. I’ll drop my things off at my desk and then I go to the kitchen and make my tea. I sit at my desk and the first thing I do is trash a lot of the junk mail I get - just clear it out, and that feels good. I’ll look through a couple of publications, like The Architect’s Newspaper, and also we have a service for alerts when Snohetta is in the news and I’ll look through that. I’ll flag emails that I need to respond to, because I usually can’t respond to them immediately. I’ll check in with whoever I need to check in with, and then I go through my calendar. Sometimes if my day is really packed with meetings, I’ll print my calendar out and carry it around with me.
1:00pm: Lunch is always at 1pm in our office, and our preference is to eat all together - we have two big, long lunch tables. I’ll usually go out and grab something nearby and bring it back, which is what a lot of people do, but every other Monday, we’ll provide lunch for an all-office meeting. As our office has grown, our meeting rooms are in high demand, so sometimes I’ll have a lunch meeting out of the office, maybe with our CFO or my partners. If the day is full with meetings, our administrative team will kindly order us lunch and bring it in, which really helps.
3:00pm: The afternoon is often filled with meetings, but one thing I make sure I do, especially at the beginning of the week, is look at my calendar for the week or the next couple of weeks, and block out periods of time for focused work time. I use this time in various ways - preparing a lecture or project interview, or working with operational issues.
6:30pm: I try to leave work sometime between 6 and 8pm and I often bring a bit of work home with me. Usually I leave by 6:30pm, and I’ll take the ferry home, unless I’m doing something - tonight, for example, I’m going to the Van Alen Fall Party, or sometimes I’ll meet other colleagues outside of Snohetta, or a client, or friends. Often, we have work related events, whether they’re Van Alen, or the Architecture League, or the American Academy in Rome, which we also support. Things like this come up from time to time, especially in the fall.
8pm: Sometimes I’ll meet a friend for dinner - one of my partners also lives in my neighborhood, so we’ll meet up for dinner if we’re both in town. If Craig is home, we might go out together or meet our neighbors.
If I’m home alone, I don’t really bother with dinner - maybe just a light snack. I’ll check my email when I get home, to see if there’s anything that needs to be addressed before the next day. Usually when I get home, I’ll turn the radio on and learn what happened during the day, but these days, it’s nicer to listen to music.
10pm: After dinner, I try to get down to the gym a few times a week - there’s a gym in my building, so I don’t have any excuse not to exercise. If I’m not too tired, or if it’s not too late, I’ll go. I haven’t really managed to make that work in the morning - ironically, I am a morning person, but when I’m in the gym at that time, I feel like I’m missing out on other things I can be doing. I enjoy the gym in the evening - it helps me wind down.
I also have a studio at home, a creative studio, and I like to use that on evenings and weekends, and I’m pretty good about that. If I’m traveling the next day, I’ll be packing right up until the last minute.
11pm: I like to read, so I try to get through a few pages, or watch something on Netflix, or chat with my husband before falling asleep.